South African Parliament Adopt New Streamlined Gambling Law

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The parliament of South Africa has adopted fresh, streamlined legislation on gambling that leaves room for contentious discussion at a later date.

The country’s parliamentary committee on Trade and Industry declared on Wednesday that it had accepted the National Gambling Amendment Act 2018. However, in order to facilitate swift passage of the act, it was narrowed down to focus on only three issues. These “technical issues” would focus on addressing “existing governance challenges.”

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had proposed a more comprehensive version of the Act earlier this year. Joanmarie Fubbs, committee chairperson, voiced that legislators had chosen to forego this.

The revised National Gambling Amendment Act 2018

So, what are the three issues that remained in the Act? Well, it aimed to improve governance at the National Policy Gambling Council, transfer regulatory oversight from the National Gambling Board to the newly formed National Gambling Regulator. It also strives to expand the functioning of the National Central Electronic Monitoring System to oversee all modes of gambling activity (mainly to provide better market data as well as determine correct taxation levels).

Fubbs stated that many issues had to be left out from the document as the time available was not enough to interrogate them effectively. The regulation of electronic bingo terminals, a crackdown on online gambling payments, bets on lottery results and ban on dog racing are some of these issues.

She allowed that the issues left out would eventually come up to the surface. She also expressed hope that once the revised Act was adopted, it would make way for comprehensive and all-round changes to the regulatory framework that governs gambling operations.

Online sports and race betting is currently okayed in South Africa. Stringent punishment has been mulled to check international gambling operators who do not possess a local license or offer additional services such as poker or casino. Any winnings that locals might win from these unauthorized sites may be confiscated by the government in the future.

Certain native politicians have tried to update South Africa’s gambling market to the present times by drawing up laws to permit a larger offering of online products and operators. Heavy lobbying by the country’s real-time offline casino sector has thwarted these attempts.

The government seems keen on upholding its online gambling restrictions despite not having the agency to actually put the ban into effect. Their objective in placing gambling curbs is to protect punter as opposed to collecting revenue.

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